Head coach Sean McVay decided to cancel Thursday’s minicamp practice, but the Rams still found themselves on a field.
The team’s future home field, that is.
On the final day of the team’s offseason program, the full roster of players in attendance ventured down to Inglewood for the first time to see the Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District — the home of the Rams beginning in 2020.
The club saw a short presentation in a conference room detailing exactly what is going on at the site and what the future stadium will look like. And then — donned in green vests and personalized hard hats with white horns — the team piled onto three buses to ride onto the future field.
It is an ongoing construction site, with work happening 24 hours a day. LASED is currently being constructed by 2,000 workers, but that number will increase to 4,000 at the project’s peak production.
On Thursday, the site paused its work in certain sections in order to accommodate the players plus team personnel and media in attendance. Once the buses made their way down a long ramp to sink 100 feet below street level into the bowl, players were able to touch the ground in their future home at about where the north end zone will be on the playing field.
McVay then introduced Rams owner/chairman E. Stanley Kroenke, who addressed the team from a podium.
“We get a lot of credit for putting this together. And we’ve done a lot of work, and we’ve made a big commitment, like Sean said,” Kroenke began. “But the cool thing that you guys need to realize is that, it’s this great league we have — great league, great coaches, great players. If we didn’t have you guys, we could not even get started out here. So I think you guys should feel a lot of pride in this, because you guys are a big part of what made this happen. So I thank you very much.”
As players took in the sheer grandeur of what will be the team’s home in just a couple years, quarterback Jared Goff tossed the first unofficial touchdown pass in stadium history to wide receiver Robert Woods. Punter Johnny Hekker also booted a ball to construction workers a few levels up at the stadium, who had paused their work for the short tour.
Goff had a chance to sit with Kroenke on the bus as the Rams entered the stadium, and noted what a special moment it was for him and the team to see the facility in person for the first time.
“So cool, obviously knowing that this is his project and I was able to ask him some questions about it and truly understand how great of a project it is and how much has gone into it,” Goff said. “And, again, can’t be thankful enough for everything that he’s done. It’s very, very exciting.”
“It’s amazing,” McVay said. “You get in here and you can really get a feel for the magnitude of this project and what a special thing it is. And it certainly is exciting. I think it’s great for our players to be able to see it and it continues to just make you feel so fortunate to work for a great owner like Mr. Stan Kroenke, that’s committed to being an influential part of this project.”
For players like defensive lineman Michael Brockers and offensive lineman Jamon Brown, both of whom were around for the relocation process, seeing the stadium in person offered a chance for some reflection.
“I’m really surprised at how fast they put it all together,” Brockers said. “The amount of time they had to put just what they’ve got together right now is crazy. So to me, we just left two years ago and they’ve already got this ground laid, all this work being done, and it’s really a testament to a lot of the people who work here. They’ve been grinding.”
“We stand right here where we’re at right now — the middle of what will be our home in this stadium. That dream and that vision starts to come to life, standing right here,” Brown said. “And as you can see, there’s a lot of people in this building, in construction right now trying to make this happen. But it’s a blessing.”
Veteran offensive lineman Rodger Saffold, who similarly experience relocation, said the tour guides gave so many stats that it was a little difficult to take in just how much is currently happening at LASED.
“It really was hard to keep track or kind of gauge what everything really meant, just [in terms of] how many square yards or square feet everything is, or what it compares to different stadiums or those types of things,” Saffold said. “So it’s truly amazing. What these guys have done is incredible, and what they’re going to have to do in order to finish this is an even bigger challenge.”
After the stadium visit, the Rams loaded back on their buses to visit the L.A. Stadium Premiere Center in Playa Vista for lunch. And between the burgers, chicken sandwiches, and pasta salad, players were able to check out the impressive model of the stadium and surrounding district. And they were able to check out a presentation for suites and club seats.
“I can’t even comprehend the amount of work that’s going into this right now,” outside linebacker Samson Ebukam said. “We were just talking about the different types of clubs that are going to be there. … And it’s going to be awesome.”
As players and coaches head out for a few weeks off until training camp, the stadium visit provided a fitting conclusion to Los Angeles’ offseason program.
“I think it was a great way to cap it off, by seeing what’s to come,” Brockers said. “Seeing that in future years, this is going to be our home. This is going to be where the L.A. Rams play and also the other events — the Super Bowl, the Olympics, all the stuff like that.”